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We’ve all done it – you start out in business hating ‘the jargon’ but before you know it, you’re closing the loop and parking ideas. However - abbreviations and acronyms are frequently employed within business to save time and therefore increase efficiency across your operations (it’s not just ‘coz people want to sound dead smart). However, for those new to the industry, they may have the opposite effect and only cause more confusion.

Not to worry! This handy guide to some of the most useful business abbreviations used will give you an introduction to the world of efficient business communication.

Business Abbreviations: The Glossary


“Break it down” – This is used to note that something can be broken down into smaller, easier to understand parts. For instance, this could be used for a large task with several components, or for a piece of writing that could be simplified.


“End of day” / “End of week” - This is used to state that the deadline for a task is the end of the workday or workweek.


“Objectives and Key Results” – These are becoming increasingly popular as a way for companies to set goals, often at a departmental or team level. Rather than setting a vague goal, the idea is to clarify what the objective is and outline what success looks like for that objective.


“Project manager” – This refers to the person who is in charge of a specific project.


“Point of contact” – This is used to signify individuals that should be contacted regarding a specific topic.


“Public relations” – This refers to the strategic management of the two-way communication that takes place between an organisation and its publics (or audiences). This is different from ‘publicity’ which is focused purely on getting your company mentioned in the media.


“Referring to” – You will probably have seen this abbreviation in email conversations. It simply notifies what a message is referring to so that everyone is on the same page. Back in the day of snail mail, you’d get this at the top of a letter, to clarify at a glance what it was about.


“Request for discussion” – This one is rather self-explanatory. This could be a request for a meeting to further discuss a task in-depth.


“Request for quote” – most often used during formal procurement processes, this is how companies summarise what services or products they are looking to purchase so that suppliers can respond.


“Search engine optimisation” – This refers to the practice of improving the position of a web page when relevant searches are made on a search engine.


“Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound” – This is an important term used in business when setting goals and objectives. Targets must ideally encapsulate all aspects of the SMART anacronym.


“Small and Medium Enterprise” – This refers to any business with under 250 employees and less than £25m per year turnover. Alternatively, it can refer to “subject matter expert” – This is used to describe an expert in their field.


“Tell, explain, describe” – This is a request for more information and detail on a topic or task.


“Too long, didn’t read” – Although this abbreviation may seem a little harsh, it is crucial to keep messages uncomplicated to ensure that efficient communication takes place across an organisation. It originated on social media but has now morphed into business-speak.


“Take your time” – This notes that there isn’t a strict deadline for you to work to.